A Builder-Basic Kitchen Goes “Bedford Gray”

Chris's builder basic kitchen dark cabinets before

This is how Chris’s kitchen looked shortly after she moved in–but it didn’t stay this way for long. She started by painting the cabinets in Martha Stewart’s “Bedford Gray,” and the difference is amazing. Check out how it looks now…

Chris Kauffman Bedford Grey kitchen Just Beachy (10)

It’s “builder basic” no more! She writes, “We moved into our new house last February to a basic builder kitchen. I hired professionals to install some things like the new marble counters, but I did the rest myself. It was quite a journey but so worth all the work.”

She even has a “Baking Center.”

Chris writes, “From my pine dark-stained floors to the second-hand kijiji table I found for $40 and refinished in black stain, to the Restoration Hardware industrial-style pendants, I love my new kitchen. It has everything I wanted.”

“The island butcher block is from Ikea. The counter is Carrara marble, which I love. The squared pulls are Martha Stewart special order from Home Depot. The range is a 6 burner 36″ Kitchen Aid commercial-style range–it is amazing.”

“I clad the bulkhead with trim and crown moulding to make it look deliberate and custom and I love it more than if the cabinets didn’t have the bulkhead.”

“I went from a huge triple sink to one single extra deep rectangular contemporary sink, and I love it. It fits everything, and it can be full and I mean full of dirty dishes and you would never know they were in there, which is nice when you like messes out of sight like I do.”

Thanks, Chris! You can see the rest of the photos and get all the source info and other details about her kitchen makeover on her blog.

This is one of the entries submitted for my Hooked on Your Kitchens Contest. All this week I’m showing you some of the most dramatic before and afters readers sent in. Miss any?

Poppy's kitchen shelves close up

Chania's cottage kitchen before makeover
Chania submitted these before and after photos of her kitchen in Ontario for my contest and I love how she gave the space some much-needed…
Julie's white kitchen before makeover cvr
Julie is a blogger known as "The Family CEO" who tackles topics like how to pay for your kids' college (something I'm especially interested in…

See More


  1. says

    Chris’ new home is beautiful. The fact she does the work herself is enough to blow the socks off. ha. If there ever was a DIY girl…she is it.

  2. says

    I have followed Chris’ blog for a while and was gobsmacked at the transformation of her kitchen, and the fact that she did it herself….speechless!!

  3. Cheryl in Wisconsin says

    This transformation is stunning.

    Is that the face of a toad drawn onto the floor in the before photo?

  4. Lisa says

    What a smart makeover! I think so many kitchens could be updated more affordably by just re-doing the existing cabinets. I love the crown cladding of the soffits – brilliant!

  5. ShabbyChick says

    GOOD GRACIOUS!!!! I THINK I’M IN LOVE!!!! THIS KITCHEN GETS MY VOTE (if you’re taking votes, that is) LOOOOOVVVVVEEE IT!!! Sorry for yelling, couldn’t be helped. 😉

    • says

      I definitely am–every comment on a kitchen I feature counts as a “vote” and will help me narrow all these down to the top contenders! :-)

  6. Laura says

    Okay, I’ve already shared my dislike of recess lighting, fitted cabinets and lack of color in kitchens, but this is just BEAUTIFUL! Very tastefully done. I love the baking center. I would be very happy cooking here!

  7. Jennah says

    Stunning transformation from a “builder’s standard” kitchen to a WOW kitchen. I love the timeless colour chosen for the cabinetry. The kitchen can easily transition through the years with a swap of accessories in different colours. Beautiful job!

    Thank you, Julia, for the link to yet another addictive blog!!!

  8. says

    So far my absolute favorite! The enclosed bulkhead is such a great idea and I love the subway tile everywhere. I would gladly not leave this kitchen if it were mine!!! Great job!

  9. says

    I am a huge fan of everything Chris does – she is a DIY powerhouse! But this is my favourite transformation yet. Truly a dream kitchen at a fraction of the cost.

  10. Corinne says

    Love her blog. She has mad DIY skills! I am up in the air with this kitchen and the cheery Crete kitchen so far.

  11. says

    Wow, what a difference the cabinet color made. I really do love Martha Stewart’s products. She does have good taste. It sounds like money was spent and saved in the right places for this amazing renovation. Congratulations!

  12. Nathan says

    I would have added some colour, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

  13. Alie B says

    I want that baking center! That is soooo cool! Love this kitchen!

  14. Amy in New Orleans says

    Great job, Chris! Bedford Gray is the color we recommend most when friends ask us wall color suggestions on their homes. We have used this shade on three different properties in the last year. Very nice neutral for modern or traditional styles. We recently moved to an older home and thought we would need to gut the kitchen until the previous bright red walls were painted Martha Stewart’s famous gray! What a difference just one gallon of paint can make. :)

  15. Jeanne says

    I love every aspect of this kitchen individually but not as a whole put together . I think it lacks warmth . Don’t hate me just keeping it real

  16. Christina from Dallas says

    I love the baking center. Such a great idea. Cute cute kitchen!

  17. says

    I love this! I was toying with the idea of submitting my kitchen, but now that I’ve seen this, it wouldn’t have stood a chance! The baking center is dreamy, and I don’t even bake!!

  18. Kim says

    This is one my favorite before and after kitchens. Painting the cabinets gray and adding some details made it stunning.

  19. Mary Ann says

    This has to be my favorite kitchen of the series. It looks like a working kitchen and not one for display. I am off to find me some Bedford Gray.

  20. Ami P says

    One of my very favorite kitchens and a huge inspiration. My favorite part (hands down) is the baking center. And loved the idea of covering that builder-basic looking bulkhead with molding to make it look so much more custom.

  21. Debbie says

    I second her love of the big single basin sink:). Favorite funtional part of my kitchen.

  22. Debbie says

    This is by far my favorite kitchen that you’ve featured and the only one I’ve commented on! So that has to count for like what, 100 votes?

    Love everything about this makeover. Cabinet color, subway backsplash, countertop choice, legs on the island, pendant lights, baking center, using beadboard, but not too much of it, the trim on the bulkhead, the dark floors.

    I could settle right into this kitchen and not want to change a single thing!
    Off to check out her blog.

  23. Melinda says

    Love, love, love this kitchen!
    Can I have Chris come show me how to do this in my kitchen, please?!

  24. Lisa says

    I agree with a few of the other commenters – I think it needs a splash of color. Something to make it not so “magaziney”.

  25. N.C. Lisa T. says

    So awesome!!! Love everything everyone else has mentioned PLUS the hardware. It really does add a little something. Another Martha Stewart thing.

    This one is definitely one of my favorites so far.

  26. Tracie says

    Oh my gosh! I LoVE this! Those (somewhat) small touches made this kitchen go from blah to WOW! The cabinets are gorgeous and I like how the tile goes up higher than usual. I love the idea of one huge sink (we had one in our old house and I MISS it!). I also love the island. IKEA huh? That’s a great idea. The molding all the way up is also impressive! We have a gap and it’s silly (and dusty)….and I’m not one for silk plants. That is a great solution and probably more affordable than bringing all the cabinets all the way up.

    This is another winner, for sure!

  27. laura says

    Beautiful kitchen! I have followed Chris’ blog for some time now – she is amazing, and does all the work herself to boot! Amazing woman & inspiring! It is nice to see her featured here!

  28. The Country Girl says

    This is the best makeover I’ve seen here as well. It may be the best anywhere because of the nature of the job—-it demonstrates that a 75k + budget is not necessary to get a really good, functional kitchen. It makes much more financial sense to work with what you have in place if at all possible, as that illusive “return on investment” for kitchens drops rapidly each year after the work is done. This is a wonderful example of intelligent, efficient renovation. Thanks for sharing this one.

  29. Kimberly says

    I love this one! My cabinets are nearly the same color, so maybe I’m partial :)

  30. Mel says

    Classy and well done..but very drab and boring and not to my taste.

  31. says

    This kitchen remodel is so stunning! I LOVE that butcher block counter on the island. And the baking center? Genius!

  32. says

    Chris your kitchen is amazing! There are so many things you did to to make it so beautiful, sophisticated and functional. Believe me I am taking note of all of it. We are in the process of gathering ideas for our kitchen update which we hope to start soon. I love the lighting in particular and noted that you mentioned the light over the table is from Home Depot and the pendants from RH. Do you or anyone know of anything like those pendants without the RH prictag?

  33. Lennon says

    LOVE this kitchen! Is there a blog that goes with the designer of this kitchen! i would love to see more of here designs

  34. Jane says

    Amazing….love Bedford Gray paint color on cupboards..beautiful kitchen!!!Fantastic blog featuring her home and the renovations she has done herself.Inspiring!!

  35. says

    thanks for the great feature, I loved reading all of those comments, I swear there is color in our accessories, we love it!